Pizza companies take hit on Wall Street

After a dismal jobs report, Wall Street suffered its worst day of the year Friday, and pizza stocks were not immune. Cheese prices jumped a dime; however it wasn't all bad news for the segment. Wheat prices remain lower than they were in the beginning of 2012, and gas prices keep falling.

Cheese

Average block cheese prices jumped a dime last week on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, averaging $1.61, from $1.51 the week prior.

Cheese prices closed at $1.57 Tuesday, $1.60 Wednesday, $1.62 Thursday and $1.65 Friday. Monday's markets were closed due to the Memorial Day holiday.

Wheat

Wheat prices dropped to an average of $7.56 last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, down from $7.82 the week prior.

Wheat closed at $7.71 Tuesday, $7.64 Wednesday, $7.52 Thursday and $7.39 Friday. The crop remains well below its average in the early part of this year, when it repeatedly closed above $8.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

Today's nationwide average for regular unleaded fuel is $3.58, another drop from the previous week, when prices were $3.63, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service.

Prices are more than 20 cents lower from a month ago when they were $3.79. Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.78 at the pump.

Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.75, down 5 cents from last week, while today's premium unleaded price is $3.89, also down from $3.94 last week.

Diesel fuel prices are averaging $3.89, a slight change from $3.93 last week. The price of diesel fuel is down from $4.09 a month ago, and from $4 even a year ago.

Natural gas

The natural gas futures market trended lower over the report week (May 23 to May 30). At the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the June 2012 natural gas contract declined steadily, losing 30.8 cents per million British thermal units (MMBtu) to settle at $2.429 per MMBtu, prior to its expiration at the close of trading on May 29. The July 2012 natural gas contract (which moved into the near-month position May 29), also declined steadily, ending the week down 37.8 cents per MMBtu to close at $2.418 per MMBtu May 29.

Nearly all trading points across the country registered declines over the week. The Henry Hub price closed at $2.39 per MMBtu May 29, down 21 cents per MMBtu from May 23's $2.60 close.

Pizza company stocks

Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. dropped almost $6 last week, closing at $64.70, down from $70.40 the week prior. The company hit its 52-week high in May at $74.44 after turning in a positive earnings report. Its 52-week low is $47.15 from a year ago.

Domino's closed last Friday at $28.90, a dip from $30.11 the previous week. DPZ's 52-week high was $42.21 from April. Shares remain substantially higher over this time last year when the company traded at $22.84.

Papa John's closed last week at $46, a decrease from $47.02 the week prior. PZZA hit its 52-week high in May at $50.45 after a positive earnings report. The company hit its 52-week low of $26.95 a year ago.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $34.01, a drop from $35.78 the week prior. CEC hit its 52-week low of $25.83 in September. The company hit its 52-week high of $42.75 in July 2011.

Pizza Inn closed Friday at $2.32, a slight decrease from $2.47 the previous week. PZZI hit its 52-week high of $7.07 in December and traded as low as $2.21 a year ago.

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